High Court approves further €1m for girl, 12, with cerebral palsy

A further €1m interim settlement has been approved by the High Court for a girl with cerebral palsy, bringing her total payments to date to more than €2.45m, writes Ann O'Loughlin.

The President of the High Court, noting Ruby Leanne McCandless will celebrate her 12th birthday next month, wished the child a very happy birthday.

Ruby has diskinetic cerebral palsy and will require lifelong care. She suffered her injuries as a result of her mother not being referred to hospital with symptoms of pre-eclampsia, it was claimed.

Des O'Neill SC, for the family, said Ruby’s mother, Christina McDaid, had high blood pressure at the end of her pregnancy and should have been referred to hospital immediately.

Through her mother, Ruby, of Foxwood, Gleneely, Co Donegal, sued the HSE in relation to the care Ms McDaid received at the end of her pregnancy in 2006. It was claimed there were failures to diagnose and treat pre-eclampsia at the earliest reasonable opportunity and to have her admitted to hospital to have her high blood pressure properly managed.

In 2014, the High Court approved a settlement including an interim payment of €1.45m to cover care to 2018.

Ruby with her parents in 2014

When the case came back before the court today, Mr Justice Peter Kelly was asked by Mr O'Neill to approve a further payment of €1m for the next four years, to include payments to assist Ruby's parents, her main carers, in providing her care into the future.

The judge said he was satisfied it was a good settlement and perfectly adequate to meet her future care costs over that period. He was also glad to be told by the child's parents they were satisfied with the settlement.

He adjourned the matter to March 2022 on the understanding the parents would have the option of a further interim settlement or lump sum payment. He was hopeful the legislation necessary to provide for periodic payment orders, which was passed last year, would be commenced "long before 2022" and the parents had the option to avail of that.

Outside court, a representative of Callan Tansey, solicitors for the family, said they were happy with the settlement but he said politicians should remedy the "fundamentally flawed" periodic payments legislation. It will not ensure the lifelong needs of the catastrophically injured will be sufficiently funded, he said.

The court previously heard Ruby's mother was due on March 30, 2006. It was claimed her blood pressure was normal up to March 28th when she attended for her last antenatal check up at Carndonagh Community Hospital during which, it was claimed, it was noticed she had a major problem with her blood pressure.

In the days leading up to the appointment, it was claimed she was extremely pale and developing swelling around her face and ankles and her blood pressure was taken four times at the hospital.

When she was examined a doctor indicated her elevated blood pressure was a borderline case and told her to visit her GP on March 31st, it was claimed. Her ankles and face were still swollen the next day and she had a headache.

On March 30, her right hand started to shake, her face to droop and she began to lose the power over her tongue. An ambulance was called but Ms McDaid blacked out.

She was rushed to Letterkenny General Hospital 45 miles away, suffered a series of severe pre-eclamptic fits and there was a lack of oxygen to the baby who was not yet born. Ruby was later delivered by cesarean section and spent her first 11 days in intensive care.


Most Read in Ireland